This week will mark the annual event which gives people the opportunity to speak about their mental health and focus on improving it.
In a world where mental health is more important than ever, the Mental Health Foundation is urging people to start conversations about mental health and things that affect it in everyday life.
Each year the organisation wants as many people and communities as possible, to think about a theme and how it relates to life every day. This also gives people the opportunity to talk about anything they have on their mind, regardless of the theme that is chosen.
In 2022, the theme of the week is the connection between loneliness and mental health. In the UK, loneliness is affecting more and more people which is taking a huge toll on physical and mental wellbeing, especially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Mental Health Foundation website, one in four adults feel lonely most of the time. There is no single cause for this. The longer individuals feel lonely, the higher the risk of mental health becoming more of an issue.
For 2020, the foundation found that 63% of adults agreed with that kindness has a positive impact on their mental health. Being kind can help reduce stress but also allows people to deepen relationships and boost our self-esteem.
The national mental health organisation ‘Mind’ has also launched a campaign this week called ‘If this speaks to you, speak to us.’ Their aim is to use spoken word to show the difference in ways people talk about their experiences and mental health. Mind’s overall aim is to be there to listen to individuals who may feel like they are never heard or listened to.
Antony Dowell, the campaigns and partnerships officer of Imagine Independence in the Northwest, said: “I’m leading one of two events, the first one is being held in central library in Liverpool, that is run by our social inclusion services.
“I’m running a webinar first thing in the morning. It is based on the idea that when people go to work, they should be able to bring their whole selves into work and not worry about fear of exclusion and fear of discrimination because many people do experience discrimination against a whole range of things.
“I’ve seen a big change over the last 20 years, particularly in the last 2 years about attitudes on conversations about mental health. I think there are quite a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes stigmatising things that prevent people from talking. I don’t think it’s a Merseyside issue, I think it’s a national wide issue. I think it’s a global issue as well.
“There are certain people within our communities who might struggle to have conversations about mental health. I think people of colour often struggle, if there is racism within our communities, the impact of that is people might not trust the system.”
With mental health becoming more of an issue in todays society, more people are noticing the effects. “It is okay to have poor mental health if we can acknowledge that something can be done about it early on and its not a clinical issue and its just a response to what is going on in our lives, most people recover from that.”
Previous themes of Mental Health Awareness Week have been the theme in nature in 2021, the theme of kindness in 2020 and the theme of body image in 2019. In 2021, the theme mainly focussed on how nature can affect your mental health and how it can improve your wellbeing.
If you have been affected by any mental health issues or just need someone to talk to, there are charities who can help, call mind on 0300 123 3393 or email on [email protected] or Samaritans on 116123 or email [email protected]
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